To the Editor:
Re “An Ape Types in Iowa” (column, Aug. 9):
Gail Collins writes: “Human-ape conversation was a very hot topic back in the late 1960s, when researchers first taught a chimpanzee named Washoe to use sign language. It lost steam once it became clear that while the apes could put together simple statements and requests, they were not prepared to have discussions about their deepest feelings, hopes and dreams. The Great Ape Trust is the only place in America where this kind of research still goes on.”
In fact, the Language Research Center at Georgia State University has engaged in continuous social, cognitive and biobehavioral research on primates, including language training and research, since 1981. The bonobos at the Great Ape Trust learned their language skills at Georgia State and lived at the Language Research Center for two decades before moving to the Great Ape Trust in 1985.
Georgia State and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development still support language training and cognitive research with four chimpanzees, and do other cognitive research work with resident populations of macaques and rhesus monkeys.
Public Relations Coordinator
University Relations Dept.
Georgia State University
Atlanta, Aug. 10, 2007
Note from KBJ: By what right do we take these animals out of the wild? Please don't say that they were born in captivity. They're wild animals! They're not like dogs and cats, which evolved with humans. All of their natural urges are being frustrated. They are being deprived of their liberty. Wild animals should be left alone. They are not objects for our manipulation, study, or entertainment. If you're an alumnus of Georgia State University, please consider withholding your donations until this abominable research stops.